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Joy and gloom in Andhra

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Hyderabad | Agency: DNA

Full-throated jubiliation broke out in Telangana's villages and in parts of Hyderabad on Tuesday after the Lok Sabha passed the controversial Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013 even as YSR Congress called for a bandh on Wednesday in 13 districts in the state.

The passage of the Bill in the lower house signals an end a three-year-long sustained agitation for the separate state even as it brings to an end the 60-year-old demand for Telangana. Enormous cutouts of TRS president K Chandrashekhar Rao and of Congress president Sonia Gandhi appeared at the TRS Bhavan in Hyderabad and at other district towns. TRS workers burst crackers, distributed sweets and showered flowers on portraits of Gandhi and Rao in Warangal. They also took out victory processions complete with drumbeats and orchestra to celebrate. TRS, Congress and CPI cadre in Medak, Karimnagar and Nalgonda districts too by bursting crackers. Telangana sympathisers also gathered at a park outside the state Assembly to offer tributes to Telangana martyrs.

"Our 60 years of struggle have been vindicated," said Telegu Rashtra Samiti (TRS) floor leader Etela Rajender. "The victory belongs to KCR (K Chandrashekhar Rao), who single-handedly achieved statehood."

The party is planning a grand welcome for Rao, who had been camping in New Delhi for the last 20 days or so after the Andhra Pradesh Assembly rejected the Bill and sent it back to Parliament. "I will return to Hyderabad only when Telangana state is formed," Rao had declared then.

On Tuesday, Rao, whose hunger strike on November 28, 2009 had triggered the Telangana movement, said, "It is a sad happening, but unavoidable."

With the passage of the Bill, other parties too tried to take credit. Telegu Desam Party (TDP) leader M Narasimhulu said, "Telangana became a reality only due to TDP chiefs letter for Telangana in 2008 and 2012." But TDP MLC from Seemandhra, N Rajakumari, wept over the manner in which the Bill was passed and the TV blackout. "What is this? Is it democracy? No debate or discussion but a voice vote," she cried.

Meanwhile, anti-Telangana activists burnt effigies of the UPA government and blocked traffic on highways in Seemandhra's Chittore, Kurnool and Anantapuram areas. Students burnt tyres near Andhra University in Visakhapatnam and Venkateswara University in Tirupathi. Seemandhra Student JAC also called for an indefinite bandh in Seemandhra region starting from Wednesday.

"It is literally a black day as the ruling party and opposition BJP colluded to separate the state by blacking out even the telecast," said YSR Congress spokesperson Ambati Rambabu.

Anticipating violence and damage to state and central government property, state DGP Prasada Rao met state chief cecretary PK Mohanty at the secretariat to plan and deploy security forces. Additional paramilitary forces were rushed to coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions to assist the local police.

"We have deployed para-military forces in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Eluru, Tirupati, Kadapa and also Anantapur," said DGP Rao said. Special para military forces have also been deployed in Seemandhra's Ameerpet, Kukkatpally, Dilsukhnagar, Gachibowli, Manikonda and AS Rao Nagar.

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